So what's everyone doing tonight?
Basketball game, anyone?
We start our look into all things Devils and Huskies (Gypsum, girls at 6 and boys at 7:30 p.m.) with bipartisan greetings.
• First off, all good thoughts to Battle Mountain coach Tom Padilla, whose mother passed away last week. Welcome back, Coach.
• Eagle Valley's Ayren Hart is out of the hospital, and recovering from rhabdomyolysis. That mouthful - I just cut and paste it, people - means that No. 35's kidneys and liver weren't doing the right things, but they're doing better, and so is Ayren and the rest of Pates family.
• So that takes us to our first question of the evening, "How do the Devils play without Mr. Hart?" The answer, kids, is, "Just like you did against Delta on Saturday." Travis Edgar and Ryan Werner, the twins - sorry, you're both big, blond and Travis wears red shoes and Ryan blue - you've got to own the paint tonight for Eagle Valley to win.
• In matters paint-like, Battle Mountain's Jimmy O'Rourke returns to action tonight. First off, I'm tired of talking to Jimmy. (All soccer season, Jimmy was in a boot, so I think I talked to him more than coach David Cope.) On a game-related note, this gives the Huskies a much needed presence underneath the glass.
Even with O'Rourke back for Battle Mountain, the Devils have the edge on the glass. (I call them as I see them - sorry, black and gold.) Can Huskies like Jack Kamby and Alex Banegas and others "play big?" This is important. Height is good for rebounding and lay-ins. But you don't need to be 6-foot-6 to rebound. Good position does the trick as well.
• Backcourt: Good fun here with two veteran point guards. In the first meeting up in Edwards, the Huskies wanted to take away the shot, particularly the 3, from Juan Baca, and that didn't happen. Meanwhile, all those in home white will keep their eye on Baca's opposite, Joe LyBarger. Eagle Valley knows No. 23 can take over a game. Eagle Valley did win in December, 66-51, but LyBarger led everyone with 18 points.
Oh, yes, as far as the backcourt goes, Eagle Valley's Sam Lounsberry to the white courtesy phone.
• Clear the benches ... Devils coach Jim Bair can go deep here even without Hart. Tanner Harris got the start against Delta, replacing Hart, but that still leaves guys like Alan Caraveo, Jordon Hudspeth, Noah Ejnes and Sam Boyd, and Eagle Valley can go further.
Meanwhile, Amadou Dath, Cody Brown and Owen Riley have provided the Huskies with quality minutes.
• By the way, not that the seniors need reminding, but Eagle Valley leads the series, 4-3, dating back to their freshmen years.
• Freud's keys for both teams: Huskies, stop turning over the ball. We're past the point in the season when that's something that can still be fixed. It needs to be fixed now. Devils, what team's going to show up? You've been driving me (and probably Bair) crazy with this. There are times you look like you don't give a hoot and times you look like you can make a run in the playoffs. The latter would be better.
• Not that we're scoreboard watching, but we are: Delta at Glenwood, tonight, the Panthers are better, but both the Huskies and Devils know the delights of playing in Glenwood. Steamboat at Palisade ... Yep, Palisade at Steamboat would be better for an upset, but the Sailors have the ability to rock anyone to sleep with their defense. ... Rifle at Summit: The Bears should win, but that's what Delta thought, too.
• OK, to the girls game. Let's remember that Eagle Valley didn't exactly walk all over Battle Mountain in Round 1 back in December. The Devils won, 36-28. Eagle Valley is really in a must-win situation to snag second place in the Slope. Eagle Valley has to break out of the pack against the likes of Rifle, Palisade and Glenwood.
• As for the Battle Mountain girls team, let's face it. No one outside of your locker room thinks that you can win tonight. That's OK. Games aren't decided on expectations. You win this game tonight and it will make your season.
• See you all down in Gypsum.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.